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Port of Antwerp - Progress of Overseas Traffic (1922)

ANTWERP, the most progressive port on the continent of Europe, is most advantageously situated, its geographical position being one of the leading factors in its abounding prosperity. Abutting upon the most frequented maritime route of the world. It Is the best center of contact between the world's seaborne commerce and the greatest industrial and most densely populated areas of Europe.

It stands, like London, about 50 miles (88 kilometers) from the open sea and Is approached by the famous river Scheldt, which has a depth of from 36 to 39 feet at high tide in its shallowest parts. Before the war. 119 regular services of steamships operated from Antwerp. While the Germans occupied the port no damage was done to either structures or equipment at the quays and docks, but the wharves were filled with immense stores of timber, sand, gravel and other war-material brought by river vessels from the Rhine.

The Antwerp port authorities in six months cleared this vast accumulation which had occupied 700,000 meters of wharf space and, by the middle of 1919, pre-war conditions had been re-established and work commenced or resumed on the new works to the north that are to double the capacity of the port within the next few years.

Today, Antwerp has not only achieved its pre-war efficiency and capacity as a port but has materially added to It in various advantages. As a proof of the saying that “Trade follows Facilities,'' the shipping and traffic records for the last year have shown progressive advancement month by month, indicating the return of the prewar level of activity, and this without the Immense trade with Germany that previously was transacted and in spite of the restrictions suffered by commerce generally as a result of war,

Antwerp, situated as it is, offers unrivalled advantages as a collecting and distributing center for every class and description of commerce. It is the best point of contact between the overseas traffic that there converges on the busiest maritime route in the world and the great industrial areas of Belgium and Northern France, the Rhine provinces, Czechoslovakia and the other new states of middle and Eastern Europe with their Immense industrial possibilities and ever-increasing demands for necessities produced in other countries. Antwerp is plainly indicated as the center of this commercial activity, while the other great ports, Havre. Rotterdam and Hamburg may be described as the extremes of that activity.

The valleys of the Scheldt, the Lys, the Meuse and the Rhine, all converge towards Antwerp, the center of a magnificent network of European railroads, the ramifications of which lead to Switzerland. Italy. France, the New States of Central Europe and the Balkans, to Constantinople and the shores of the Black Sea. Numerous regular lines of steamers, moreover, follow the coast of Europe all around the continent, from the North of Norway down to Asia Minor while other great steamship lines connect Antwerp, direct with all the ports in the world.

Source: Shipping: Marine Transportation, Construction, Equipment and Supplies, New York: Shipping Publishing Co, Volume 15, No. 1, January 10, 1922 p43

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